Europe's Christmas Markets
Collected by Adriana Yampey , AFAR Local Expert
Christmas in Europe is something one has to witness. The Christmas market season starts very soon and I cannot wait as they are wonderful. The bitter cold can be fought off with good food and hot glühwein with cinnamon. Hand made ornaments and gingerbread hang down at almost every table.
Berlin’s Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg is home to one of Berlin's most hip Christmas markets: the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt. Located on the grounds of a former brewery, the Lucia Christmas market is the “Nordic”-themed market in Berlin. You’ll...
Sint-Katelijneplein, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
The most interesting part of Brussels' Christmas Market is in St Catherine's Square, where there are not only food and drink stalls, as well as those to buy gifts, but also a chance to go ice skating and ride a very big Ferris wheel. The square is...
Trg bana Josipa Jelačića, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
An elegant square lined with grand 19th-century buildings, Ban Jelačić is a great spot to feel the city’s pulse. It often plays host to fairs and performances, as well as locals chatting under the sculpture of Ban Josip Jelačić or the...
27 Rue des Cordeliers, 13100 Aix-en-Provence, France
Unfortunately, I haven't been to enough European Christmas markets to know whether this one is truly extraordinary, but I really love the marché de Noël in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. The little stalls are set up along the Cours...
Staroměstské nám. 1, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město, Czechia
Old Town Square, founded in the 12th century, is the center of Prague. In the middle of it all, the Old Town Hall (which also houses the famous Astronomical Clock), built in 1338, still provides the best 360-degree views of the city. For a...
Budapest, 1051 Hungary
There's no better way to connect with a culture than through food. It's a universal language, tangible and immediate. Street/market food is particularly insightful. I recently spent time in eastern Europe and was pleasantly surprised by the...
Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V, Denmark
A fairy-tale town deserves a magical funfair. Tivoli Gardens is one of the country’s most popular attractions, drawing more than four million visitors a year (in a country with a population of around 5.5 million). Youngsters will enjoy the...
Marienplatz 1, 80331 München, Germany
Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona's Fira de Santa Llúcia may not be as big or diverse as some of the Christmas Markets in other parts of Europe, but it has some very unique decorations. There's the Caganer, a long-time figure in Catalan nativity scenes, that's most often...
V Kotcích 516/15, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město, Czechia
Champs-Élysées, Paris, France
Potsdamer Platz 1, 10785 Berlin, Germany
With only my nose peeking from my scarf, the smell of toasted almonds, melting sugar, and mulled wine warmed all my senses. Christmas in Berlin made me feel 5 years old all over again and I had the revelation, “This is what Christmas carols are...
Piazza di Santa Croce, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
I studied abroad in Italy and, since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving, my friends and I dove right into Christmas as soon as November came around. I listened to my professor sing in a choir for a Christmas concert, attended the magical tree...
Spandauer Damm 20-24, 14059 Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s showpiece schloss is one of the main sights in the Charlottenburg neighborhood. Initially a country house built for (the future) Queen Sophie Charlotte in 1695, it served as a summer residence for Prussian kings throughout the 18th...
The Christmas Market, or Weihnachtsmarkt, at the Gendarmenmarkt plaza is one of the city's most scenic. Located directly in front of Berlin's concert house and in between French and German Cathedrals, the backdrop at Gendarmenmarkt is majestic....
Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany
One of the most famous sights in Germany, the Cologne Cathedral (known locally as the Kölner Dom) lives up to the hype. Its Gothic exterior, and especially its soaring twin spires, can be seen from all over the city, and its immense...
I have not seen many vendors of chestnuts this year, at the Christmas markets we visited. The best one was in Dusseldorf. The roasted smell draws you close from far away. I don't know about others, but when I see and smell them, I have to have a...
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